M.Eng. Admission FAQ

Admissions questions about the ORIE M.Eng.

The following FAQs address admissions questions that prospective applicants have raised about Cornell's Master of Engineering program in Operations Research and Information Engineering

When should I apply?

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Online applications (and all accompanying credentials) for Fall 2023 are due by December 1st, 2022. Spring 2023 applications are only available to current Cornell University students, and interested students should contact ORIE for more information about this program.

Any applications for a Spring semester that are not from a current Cornell student will, with notice, be shuffled to the subsequent Fall application cycle.

Should I ask about my chances for admission and/or financial aid before sending in an application?

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The ORIE M.Eng. program does not pre-screen candidates for admission or financial aid. Please do not send emails, resumes, etc., requesting an assessment of your chances. We are happy to respond to specific questions not covered in this FAQ.

How can I obtain an application form and recommendation form?

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Application materials can be obtained from the Graduate School. You will be required to apply online.

How much does it cost to apply?

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The online application fee is $105, and can be paid via credit card.

Can I have the application fee waived?

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In cases of extreme financial need the Graduate School will consider a request for a fee waiver. A letter of request for a waiver and supporting documentation of need, such as a letter from a college financial aid office, must be submitted to the Cornell Graduate School.

When will I learn whether or not I have been admitted?

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Applications are not reviewed until all your transcripts, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, prerequisite page, scores, and the application itself have been received. If you apply by the deadline, most decisions are made by April 15.

I don't see the Financial Engineering/CFEM option on the application, what do I select?

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If you are interested in Financial Engineering/CFEM, please select "Operations Research and Information Engineering, M.Eng (Ithaca)" from the dropdown menu, and when asked for your preferred concentration, place "Financial Engineering" as your top choice. You do not apply specifically to CFEM, it is a part of the Financial Engineering concentration provided by the Ithaca campus program.

What is the minimum grade point average (GPA) required?

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The College of Engineering, of which we are a part, sets a minimum grade point average of 2.7 for admission. In recent years, demand in ORIE has effectively raised this level above 3.0. However admission is based on the entire application, not on a fixed grade point cutoff. An effort is made to interpret grades from schools other than Cornell on a comparable basis to Cornell undergraduate grades. The maximum GPA at Cornell is 4.3. Applicants from schools using other grading systems (for example, some schools outside of the United States) can report GPA scores on the Cornell basis, but should also report the original GPA, backed up by an official transcript.

Must I take the GRE?

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Presently, no, ORIE is not requiring GRE scores and they will not even be visible to the committee evaluating your application.

In the past, Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores must have been submitted by applicants, through the testing agency system, unless they have completed or are completing an undergraduate degree at Cornell. Scores should be reported to code 2098, which is Cornell's code number.

What are the minimum required GRE scores?

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There is no current minimum, as the GRE is not presently required.

Applicants in the past who have taken the GREs and are accepted into the program almost all have a Quantitative score in excess of 740, have scored in a high percentile in the Analytical Writing portion, and have above-average Verbal scores.  Median scores of recent MEng class:  680 (165) Verbal, 800 (166) Quantitative, 3.50 Analytical. These numbers are provided for prospective students who have taken the GRE and wish to have more data points to base their application on, and have no bearing on the Fall 2023 application cycle.

Can I use GMAT scores instead of GRE scores?

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This cycle, we are not accepting either GRE or GMAT scores, but in the past they have not been interchangeable.

What is the minimum TOEFL score for non–native English speakers?

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While some of the general Master of Engineering literature lists a different minimum score, a score of 100 internet based is the absolute minimum for the M.Eng. in ORIE, and a higher score than that is highly desirable. In addition, admission is not possible without having the minimum score in each category as set by the Cornell University Graduate School: Writing: 20, Listening: 15, Reading: 20, Speaking: 22. TOEFL scores should be reported to code 2098, which is Cornell's code number.

The scores can be sent after the December 1st deadline so long as the rest of your application has been submitted. Please remember, however, that your application will not be evaluated until either an official score report is in, or your exempt status has been verified.

Must I have work experience in order to qualify for the program?

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It is not necessary to have work experience. The majority of students in the program do not have full-time work experience beyond summer internships. Applicants who have relevant work experience or are interested in changing careers are encouraged to apply if they have the necessary prerequisite courses and excellent mathematical skills. The joint M.Eng./MBA combination is especially appropriate for experienced applicants.

Should I submit a resume?

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A resume submission is required within the application, as it can sometimes be useful in conveying valuable information that does not fit naturally on the application form.

What academic records should I submit?

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Your undergraduate transcript and transcripts for any graduate work you have taken should be submitted online with your application. If the transcript is not in English, include an official translation. If the grading system is not based on letter grades corresponding to a 4 or 4.3 point scale, try to provide information that would facilitate a translation into that scale. Do not submit secondary school (high school, preparatory school) records or detailed faculty reports. If you submit project reports, portfolios, or other work products they will not be read. Publications should be listed in a resume or other supplementary document but need not be sent to us.

What should I list as "Major subject, area of concentration, or minor"?

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Please note that when you are filling out the application, the Proposed Field of Study and Program Name is Operations Research and Information Engineering, M.Eng, and the Concentration and Specialty should match. The choices are: Applied OR, Information Technology, Financial Engineering, Data Analytics, Manufacturing, Semester in Strategic Operations, and the Systems Engineering minor.

What information should I include about school I have attended or am now attending?

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Make sure to include the name of the institution, the dates attended, the grade point average (with the base, i.e.,16.64/20.00 or 3.6/4.3), the field of study for the degree, the date received, the language of instruction, and your class rank within the field of study or within the institution. If space is insufficient to write these legibly, use a supplementary page.

Who should I ask to write letters of recommendation?

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The ideal recommender knows you and is known (by reputation, position, or previous contact) to the admissions committee. We prefer to have at least one written recommendation from a teacher who knows your capabilities. Recommendations from employers or work supervisors should be as specific as possible about what you have accomplished. Recommendations from peers are usually of less value.